Monday, December 04, 2006

So THAT'S why he hasn't proposed yet!

And here you thought your partner just had cold feet. From the depths of the Meaningless Protest/Shittiest Excuse Ever archives comes this little gem: "The Sit-In at the Altar: No 'I Do' Till Gays Can Do It, Too." A few hetero couples have decided not to tie the knot until this country evolves from its homophobic, bass-ackwards funk and gives gay couples the same matrimonial rights as straights.

How on earth could someone refuse to marry simply because their government doesn't recognize same-sex marriages? That'd be like deciding not to eat all of your mashed potatoes simply because there are starving children in Africa. Isn't that the opposite of what your parents taught you? Speaking of analogies ...
“I usually explain that I wouldn’t go to a lunch counter that wouldn’t allow people of color to eat there, so why would I support an institution that won’t allow everyone to take part,” said Ms. White, 24, a law student at the University of California, Davis. “Sometimes people don’t buy that analogy.”
Count me among those who think that analogy is, for lack of a better phrase, completely moronic. A better analogy, using Ms. White's ingredients, would be if you refused to eat sandwiches because sandwiches are served at lunch counters, and people of color aren't allowed to eat at some lunch counters. Don't throw out the sandwich with the lunch counter. There's nothing intrinsicly heterosexist (or misogynistic) about state-recognized partnerships; right now the government's application of marriage is unfair and bigoted, but that's an error of the government, not of the institution of marriage. Certainly marriage has some unsavory historical roots, but so does the United States interstate highway system. Don't tell me you boycott the 580 because it was Hitler's idea.

Some protesters seem to oppose hetersexual marriage in part because of the cultural connotations associated with traditional weddings.
“I didn’t have the wedding fantasies some little girls have,” said Sarah Augusto...
This implies that the kind of women (or men) who want to get married and have a wedding are buying in to an antiquated, anit-feminist fantasy that's inculcated into children by heterosexist culture. Where is it written that a wedding has to be look like a page torn from a story book? Why do you even have to have a wedding, per se, in order to be married? I'm pretty sure all you need is a form, an application fee, and a few witnesses. Don't piggyback your revulsion toward traditional weddings onto a legitimate concern about equal rights.

Very obnoxiously, one woman they interviewed seemed quite turned on by the idea of shaking things up for the sake of shaking things up.
Referring to each other as “partner” usually helps avoid the misperception, but that can be tricky, too. When Ms. Augusto, the sociology graduate student, speaks of her partner, people ask if she’s a lesbian. “I say, ‘My partner is male,’” she said. “‘We’re not getting married because it’s not a universal right, and I feel that the word boyfriend trivializes our relationship.’ It’s really shocking to the people I tell that to. Probably as shocking as if I were a lesbian.”
Probably as shocking as if I were a lesbian?! That assumes that (a) being a lesbian is shocking, (b) not getting married is shocking, and (c) anyone cares enough about your life to be shocked by it. Family members, maybe, wacky conservative Christians, sure; but Joanne Schmo on the street doesn't give a damn about your baseless protest. Mostly it seems like these people are trying to be co-martyrs; maybe they feel guilty that they were born straight and thus can't "suffer" as gays and lesbians do, so they're adopting useless burdon to compensate. Or maybe they just want attention.

Oh yeah, this argument was supposed to be about gay rights, not about some straight couples' attempts to look for a reason to avoid marriage, remember? The New York Times actually got a hold of some gay rights groups' leaders, and, according to the article, many such groups aren't advocating the anti-marriage platform.
Molly McKay, a founder of Marriage Equality U.S.A. in Oakland, said its goal is to increase the number of people who have the protections that come with marriage. “We love weddings,” Ms. McKay said.
You mean people who advocate for the expansion of marriage aren't suggesting that fewer people get married? Crazy.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, this comes at the same time that Assembly Member Carole Migden is proposing a bill in California that would allow heterosexual couples to obtain domestic partnerships as an alternative to marriage. In California, our Registered Domestic Partnerships offer all the rights and responsibilities that the state provides to married couples, except for the word marriage. Unfortunately, the federal government does not recognize these unions as strongly as the state and does not provide many of the 1,137 special rights married couples enjoy.

Rebecca C. Brown said...

Right, only two groups of people can register for a CA domestic partnership: same-sex couples and couples with at least one member over the age of 62. (I found this out when investigating whether I could enroll my boyfriend on my health insurance without actually getting married. The answer is nope.)

Maybe, as a few of my cobloggers and I have proposed in the past, we could make state-recognized partnerships and spiritually-influenced partnerships completely separate, both on paper and in real-life application. Voila! No more messy debates about who gets to get married, 'cause state-recognized marriage no longer exists! You're either in a partnership or you're not.

Mo said...

If you guys only knew Ms. Augusto...you guys just don't get it.